The Lord Speaker has today emailed colleagues to warn them of the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to spy on Parliament, with security services naming Christine Lee as a suspected saboteur. Lord McFall informs Lords that Lee has been engaging in “political interference activities” on behalf of the CCP. One sentence of the warning in particular has raised eyebrows:
“I should highlight the fact that Lee has facilitated financial donations to serving and aspiring Parliamentarians on behalf of foreign nationals based in Hong Kong and China. This facilitation was done covertly to mask the origins of the payments. This is clearly unacceptable behaviour and steps are being taken to ensure it ceases.”
Read the letter in full below:
I wrote to you in July last year to alert you to the activities of Janusz Niedzwiecki, a Polish national, and Oleg Voloshyn, a Ukrainian national who had both been working to gain the support of a number of politicians here at Parliament for policies in support of Russian state objectives. Niedzwiecki had been arrested by the Polish authorities on suspicion of espionage on behalf of the Russian State. I also took the opportunity to remind colleagues of the range of activities undertaken by some foreign state actors against Parliament and Members which pose a security risk; whether through cyber-attack, or more traditional methods of espionage to gather information, exert influence, or disseminate disinformation.
I also undertook to keep you updated on any activities of foreign actors which pose a security risk, whether through cyber-attack or covert influence activity. I am writing now to draw your attention to the attached Interference Alert issued by the Security Service, MI5, about the activities of an individual, Christine Lee, who has been engaged in political interference activities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party, engaging with Members here at Parliament and associated political entities, including the former APPG: Chinese in Britain. I should highlight the fact that Lee has facilitated financial donations to serving and aspiring Parliamentarians on behalf of foreign nationals based in Hong Kong and China. This facilitation was done covertly to mask the origins of the payments. This is clearly unacceptable behaviour and steps are being taken to ensure it ceases.
If you have been approached by Christine Lee, or have any concerns about similar approaches, I would encourage you to get in touch with the Director of Security for Parliament, [redacted].
Mr Speaker is writing in similar terms to Members of the House of Commons.
Lord McFall of Alcluith”